Learning to ski or snowboard at an early age is the perfect way to help young children instill a love for winter. Exploring the slopes helps kids build self-confidence, meet new friends and develop a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.
Bromley is known as Vermont’s Sun Mountain and my younger son Teddy is a cheerful soul I often refer to as my sunny boy. So when my husband Matt and I were invited to bring him for a complimentary visit in early March I hoped that they would be a good match for each other.
I was not disappointed.
Bromley is a Kid-Friendly Mountain
Our trip to Bromley was unusual in that we traveled as a family of three – my teen son Tommy had baseball tryouts and opted to stay at home for the weekend. But that meant we got to test drive the mountain with our focus on some of the younger kid action. Teddy was almost 11 when we visited and everything about the mountain, from the cozy base lodge with its fireplace and gumball machines to the snowman marshmallow that was served on his hot chocolate felt like it was built for a kid his age and speed.
Founded in 1936 by the son of the Pabst Brewing founder, Bromley still has the feel of a classic, old-time Vermont ski area. The base area isn’t very big and all the trails pretty much end in the same place, which means parents can feel comfortable letting kids who are old enough and solid enough skiers explore on their own.
The entire place has a low-key vibe that makes it feel safe and welcoming. There’s clearly as much hanging out and socializing as there is skiing.
Need more proof that Bromley is kid-friendly?
We saw a child a little younger than Teddy having her birthday party in the bar in the base lodge as part of the après-ski scene.
KidsRule Ski and Board Lessons = Confident Kids
Teddy spends a lot of time chasing after his older brother, who has longer legs and is pretty aggressive when it comes to skiing. I was happy to give him the chance to slow things down a bit with his friendly teachers, especially because I knew that his turns needed some work (he will still slip into a pizza wedge more than I’d like to see him do).
Bromley has an entire area of the base lodge dedicated to their KidsRule Ski Camps; this is where parents can sign their kids up, rent them equipment if they need it, and ask questions about how the sessions are run and what level lesson their child should take. Kids in the all-day programs also eat lunch there. Teddy felt at home right away.
We didn’t tag along on Teddy’s lessons, because what almost-11-year-old wants his mom watching over his shoulder? But I felt completely confident about leaving him with the instructors who greeted us in a very friendly way at the designated lesson drop-off area and gave us a thorough overview of what they had covered at the end of the day.
Bromley has a dedicated carpet lift and learner hill just for beginners, and I definitely got the sense that it would be a great place to bring a young child to learn how to ski.
At the end of his first day Teddy’s teacher told us that he had worked hard on his turns and made some real improvement. But what made us feel like the lesson was a success was the fact that he begged to spend the next day doing the camp again instead of skiing with us. We were happy to oblige especially when we saw that Teddy had made some friends and was having a wonderful time while also improving his ski skills.
Take Zippy Terrain, Add Sunshine, Repeat
While Teddy was enjoying his lessons, Matt and I enjoyed some gorgeous weather and lots of skiing. The vertical drop here is only about 1300 feet but there are 47 trails, which means lots of quick, fun runs.
Admittedly there wasn’t much snow last in the winter of 2016. But given how bare the surrounding mountains were, I was impressed by how well the Bromley snowmaking operation had the open trails covered. And while the more challenging trails either weren’t open or had lots of ice for skiers to contend with, we were able to amuse ourselves just fine with the cruising runs off the Sun Mountain Express quad chair. The mountain’s longest trail Run Around offers great views of the nearby Mount Equinox.
Oh, and I guess I haven’t pointed out yet that the name “Sun Mountain” comes from the fact that Bromley faces south and into the sun for most of the day. You’ll definitely want to bring some sunscreen.
Bromley Condos are Convenient and Comfy
We stayed in Bromley Village, which is a just minutes from the base area of the mountain (you can either take a shuttle or do as we did and park our car in the ski area parking lot for free).
Our condo was large, comfortable and quiet and came with a fully equipped kitchen and a fireplace that we loved.
Are the runs at Bromley the longest or the most challenging you’ll find in Vermont? No. But what you will find is a mountain that lives up to its nickname’s promise of warmth not only literally but in the relaxing and friendly atmosphere. My sunny boy loved skiing at the Sun Mountain and I’m sure yours will too – it’s the perfect place for family fun.
A few more things for families to like about Bromley
- As one of the more southern ski resorts, Bromley is super easy to get to from both the New York and Philadelphia metro regions. We drove there in about 5 and a half hours from northern Delaware.
- Nearby Manchester has lots of great places to eat including our favorites The Perfect Wife (the more casual tavern there is called The Other Woman and is one of my favorite places to eat with kids in Vermont), the Depot Cafe, which serves Mediterranean food, and Up for Breakfast. There are also many outlet shops and a fantastic local bookstore. It’s about a 15-minute drive from the mountain.
- Kids five and under ski or board for free at Bromley. And be sure to check out Family Fridays when every full-paying adult can buy up to three junior/teen tickets for $20 each. Good every Friday during the season except holiday periods.
- There is plenty of space in the lodge at Bromley to eat a brown bag lunch, and they have lockers and cubbies as well. I also recommend the Wild Boar Tavern upstairs for a reasonably priced lunch of yummy burgers or soup. The après-ski scene is family friendly – we heard a great band playing there one afternoon while Matt and I enjoyed a few beers and Teddy had some hot chocolate.
- Bromley has a great list of other family activities in the area.